David & Elaine Potter Fellowship

Our mission

We provide grants that contribute to economic development and well-being in a plural, rational and tolerant society. Our purpose is to support projects promoting reason, accountability and education that will improve understanding, human rights, good governance and a stronger civil society.

What the Foundation does

Our initial aim was to improve education and access to education in Africa, but our experience was that this was often hampered by failures of governance – of inequality and corruption. Hence, we also provided grants to help the growth of civil society to create a platform upon which education could flourish and be effective. In 2015 our focus was revised to two main areas: Education and Civil Society. We aim to give 90% of our support to the main areas of Education and Civil Society.

The remaining 10% of our grants will be awarded to causes close to the personal interests of the Potter family that are not connected to our strategic interests in Education and Civil Society. This will include our ongoing support for the Arts.

We are primarily a grant funder and look to take a strategic approach where possible. We encourage the use of research and a strong evidence base across our two main areas of focus, and we will be looking to commission small research projects in these areas. We look to broker partnerships and strongly encourage knowledge sharing and dissemination and the use of open access and creative commons to achieve this.

Characteristics that are common across our funding include building networks, unlocking and enabling potential, catalysing change, and encouraging the use of a strong evidence base.

We would expect all the organisations we support to take the Sustainable Development Goals into consideration and how their work addresses them, particularly goals #4, #8, #16 and #17.

We are a member of the International Education Funders Group and Ariadne.